Minister launches Open Data Licences paper for public consultation at a Public Service seminar  

The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Mr. Brendan Howlin, T.D., launched an Open Data Licences paper for public consultation at an Open Data Seminar on 11th February attended by representatives of over 50 Public Bodies.

The Open Data Initiative launched by Minister Howlin in July 2014 highlights Open Data as having a powerful role to play in the Public Service Reform agenda.  It is also prioritised as part of the recently published ICT Strategy for the Public Service.

Speaking about Ireland’s Open Data Initiative, the Minister said, “we need to create an environment where the economic, social and democratic opportunities and benefits of Open Data are recognised and grasped, and where use and re-use of Public Service data by citizens, enterprises and other public servants is facilitated and encouraged by public bodies”.

The Minister noted the progress already achieved in Open Data and acknowledged the potential for further progress:

The Public Service collects massive amounts of potentially valuable information including, for example, data dealing with public expenditure, demographics, transport, education, health and land use.  Lots of this data is already publicly available, and is available for re-use. However, it is not necessarily available as Open Data. For example, it may be locked into proprietary non-machine readable formats like PDFs, making it difficult to find, analyse and re-use. My goal, therefore, is to make public information available and easily accessible online with a view to it being used by businesses and citizens alike”.

The Minister acknowledged that users of public sector data requires assurance of what they legally can and cannot do with data.  “An Open License is necessary to ensure legal grounding for its potential re-use” he said.

In this context, the Minister announced the launch of a policy paper on Open Data Licences for public consultation for 5 weeks and invited all to participate.

Notes to Editor

The Open Data Licences policy paper sets out a number of licencing options and seeks views on a number of issues.    Observations on the policy paper may be submitted online at before closing date 18th March 2015.

The purpose of the seminar was to raise awareness of the Open Data Initiative and to promote the commencement of audits of datasets in public bodies, and provide guidance in this respect.

The Minister’s remarks at the seminar can be found here

Presentations given at the seminar are available below.

Dr Tracey Lauriault and Professor Rob Kitchin on “Putting Data to Work”

Mr. Dominic Byrne, Fingal Co Council on ‘Fingal Open Data”

Ms. Deirdre Lee, Derilinx on “Auditing our Data Method and Toolkit”

Ms. Evelyn O’Connor, DPER on ‘Government’s Open Data Initiative